Saturday, March 11, 2006

Blog family birthdays

Lots of blog family birthdays and celebrations coming up. Kindly take notes, so that we can remind each other. On my own, I'm bound to forget.

March 12 Diana in Northern VA
March 14 LA*Mom
March 16 Phil from Iowa (anniversary)
March 18 Kimmy
March 20 jc
March 25 Oscar
March 27 Jo in Vermont and MonicaSmith

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Howard Dean on Late Edition Tomorrow

Just a heads-up for anyone who'd like to watch this--thank you floridagal for letting me know that Howard Dean is going to be on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer on CNN tomorrow.

DNC chairman Howard Dean on why he thinks a controversial port deal fell through. Plus Sens. John Warner and Carl Levin weigh in on Iraq, the ports controversy and more.

It's a two hour show (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern), and Howard Dean *tends* to be saved for last, but then, there's no guarantee of that. I really need to buy a new videotape that I can use for just these occasions--that way I can fast-forward through all the parts I don't need to see.

In other news, don't forget to check out the posts Corinne has put up over at We've Got Howard Dean's Back over the past few days. And, some of you may remember geri in no va. I just checked the Meet the Blog Family pages, and unfortunately she's not listed there, but she was a videoblogger for Dean, and many of us have her DVD "Love Letter to the Dean Campaign". Anyway, in the next couple days she will be relaunching the Good News Network as a community blog. The new site is going live in the next couple days, and I'll be sure to let you know when it does.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Cosmic art

Gotta love this title of an image on the HubbleSite Gallery:

Space Phenomenon Imitates Art in Universe's Version of van Gogh Painting

So, sometimes Godde does a bit of painting--that should surprise us? I mean, once that evolution thing was set in motion, the program could pretty much run itself, no? Leaves time to pursue the arts, I should think. Where do we think Van Gogh learned to do it anyway? "Space phenomonon imitates art"--such linear thinking.

Okay, maybe I started out trying to be "deep", but I've gotten deeply silly instead. How about a deep Einstein quote?

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

And also a slightly silly one...
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

I hope you all are enjoying a pleasant Friday evening.

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Open Thread

Check out some new posts at We've Got Howard Dean's Back. At Blog for America, there's a post featuring Christine Cegelis. Remember, you can donate to Christine's campaign through the Howard-Empowered People Act Blue page.

If you are a member at any of these blogs, please recommend the post about the National Nurse bill, to help spread the word: My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, and MyDD.

And please also help let people know about We Believe! Ohio and the group's big launch in Columbus this coming Tuesday, March 14.

Finally, in keeping with SusanD's wonderful post about how babies of all kinds help renew our spirits, here is a picture of the puppy my mom *might* be getting later this month, to raise for Canine Companions for Independence. He's the black one.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Russ Feingold live chat

Update: The full transcript of the chat can be found here.

Russ Feingold is having a live text chat tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. You need to sign up ahead of time to participate. On a related note, there was a post earlier today at Booman Tribune, Thoughts on a Feingold Candidacy.

Does Russ Feingold deserve the support of the Deaniacs? The question is probably best answered by people that supported Dean's candidacy. I didn't. But, I greatly admired Dean's campaign and especially the people that made up his campaign. And I think Russ Feingold is the natural successor to Howard Dean.

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Pandas and Puppies and Kittens, Oh My!

by SusanD

I believe that it is part of the neocon strategy to overwhelm us with such a monstrous tsunami of extremism that we all throw up our hands in despair and say, "Whatever". They want us to give up, remain silent, and let them do as they will.

For many, or even most of us, our lives were and are quite full without being at all involved in politics. Our plates were already full with daily living and now we've tried to add on another layer called "politics". Not that we had much choice when we saw where our country was headed. But adding that extra layer comes awfully close to being the back-breaking straw.

And it is made even more difficult by the fact that we have faced so much loss, seen so many outrageous acts, that we have so many to fight, both inside and outside party lines. It has become increasingly difficult to find a head-space that's not filled with a "should-do list".

That's where the pandas, puppies and kittens come in. During the worst of times I went to the National Zoo website several times a day. Mei, a first-time panda mother, gave birth to Tai on July 9. Without any instruction, strictly by instinct, she did all the things necessary to insure his survival and growth. Watching her care for him, watching him as he grew, reassured me that we are all...all creatures....hard-wired with survival mechanisms.

And the "Awww" factor of babies, both human and animal, is the very best non-medicated stress relief in the world. For a time you can find peace in gazing on the embodiment of innocence we find in new life, coo over the chubby cheeks and rounded little bodies made for cuddling. You can hold on to the reminder that all beings come into the world radiating innocence and sweetness.

I find peace in those little faces, whether human, panda, puppy, kitten or otter. I'm reminded that our first instinct is to love and protect the newborn of any species. I remember what I'd almost forgotten...that I believe that we were created to be good, to survive, to help each other, and to love one another.

And we will.

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National Nurse: Exciting news to report!!

Update from Renee: I've crossposted this to a number of community blogs. If you'd like to help make sure this news gets to as many people as possible, please recommend this diary at the following blogs.
My Left Wing
Booman Tribune
Daily Kos

The National Nurse Team is delighted to announce that the bill to establish an Office of the National Nurse has been introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 8th, 2006. The bill is HR 4903 and can be viewed in its entirety later today or tomorrow here. We all thank Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)and her dedicated staff for introducing this bill during the second session of the 109th session of Congress.

HR 4903 establishes an Office of the National Nurse that will:

1. Involve all Americans in preventive health practices.
2. Complement health services already in place.
3. Establish volunteer national nurse teams to deliver nursing
assistance and education to communities in crisis.

There is a lot of work to be done, and many ways you can help.

Contact your elected officials to ask them to support this bill.

1. You can find the telephone numbers and email addresses of your elected Representatives and Senators by visiting this link OR you may call these toll free numbers: 1-877-762-8762, 1-888-723-5246, 1-800-426-8073
2. There is a sample letter and phone script found at
3. Many of you have expressed interest in visiting your own
Congressional Office in person. Tips for successful lobbying can be
found at

Help the team raise funds to go to Washington DC to lobby.

1. Log on to: and click on the "DONATE NOW"
button located on the top left corner of the website.
2. Write a check to: National Nursing Network Organization, 20564 SW
98th Court, Tualatin, OR 97062
*** The National Nursing Network Organization is a non-profit corporation and it is not tax-exempt, therefore contributions are not tax-deductible.

Help spread the word.

1. Purchase a button or bumper sticker at

2. Invite us to speak at your business meetings, conferences, and conventions.
3. Contact to receive a complementary flyer to post at your workplace.
4. Contact if you are a graphic artist who is willing to donate your talents to update our merchandise.

The National Nurse Team will send out a regular information newsletter next week, including the first health tip to keep you and our citizens healthy - a reader suggested this and the team thought it was a great idea to begin modeling what the Office will do.

We have a lot of exciting activities but for now, let's all give the members of Congress something to talk about. Please make your phone calls and write your letters to your elected officials today!

Until next time,
Teri, Alisa, and Terri
The National Nurse Team

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So, what's everybody up to?

I've got an exam to write, but just wanted to do a quick post to see what all the rest of you busy people are up to--and to ask anyone who is a member of Booman Tribune or My Left Wing to recommend my diary about Subodh Chandra. While you're at Booman Tribune, you might weigh in on this:

Thoughts on a Feingold candidacy

Does Russ Feingold deserve the support of the Deaniacs? The question is probably best answered by people that supported Dean's candidacy. I didn't. But, I greatly admired Dean's campaign and especially the people that made up his campaign. And I think Russ Feingold is the natural successor to Howard Dean.

More here.

Corinne has some new posts up at We've Got Howard Dean's Back. We could still use more contributors for that blog, and help spreading the word that the blog is out there for the purposes of countering media/right wing/spineless dem spin about Howard Dean.

Finally, earlier this week I tried a little something different--kind of like the "Word for the Week" that Oscar often does, except in audio format. If you're interested, you can find the link here.

So, what else is new?

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

DemocracyFest 2006

My Vote is My Voice (MViMV) invites you to join progressive activists from across the country in San Diego from July 14 through 16 for the Third Annual DemocracyFest.

DemocracyFest 2006 promises to feature some of the best that San Diego and the progressive grassroots movement have to offer.

Event, meal and lodging tickets are available for purchase at a discounted early-bird rate. Get yours now before the regular prices take effect after March 15th!

DemocracyFest organizers from DemocracyFest Incorporated and San Diego for Democracy have a fabulous program planned for you - a weekend where you can trade ideas, learn new strategies, and get energized for the hard political work ahead. It'll be a great celebration in San Diego.

We look forward to seeing you there,
The MViMV Board

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Please Help Me Become the People's Lawyer

Ask the right question and the answer is "Chandra"

By Subodh Chandra

The other day, I am embarrassed to report that with my wife out of the house, I lost one of my triplet two-year olds in our own home. He disappeared. I couldn't find him anywhere. With the other two corralled in another room, I wandered about the house calling out his name and he wouldn't respond. I started to worry. "What if he fell down the laundry chute? What if he climbed into the dryer?" I kept calling out his name, "Chethan! (it rhymes with Nathan) Where are you?" He didn't respond. "What am I going to tell my wife?" I thought.

Finally, in case he was hiding, I had an idea to trick him into responding. Instead of yelling for him, I simply asked, "Chethan...?" And sure enough, he responded from the distance, "...Chandra." I repeated the question and started honing in as he responded. Finally, I had him. (He actually looked startled when he got found, caught, and kissed. I'm sure he was wondering, "How did Daddy catch me?")

One of the things that struck me as I began running for Ohio Attorney General last year was how few Ohioans - even those who pay close attention to politics - seemed to respond when I tried to call on them to care about the Attorney General's office. They all seemed to be hiding. Nonlawyers figured it's just an office that lawyers should care about. Lawyers figured it's just an office that lawyers who profit from the A.G.'s office should care about.

Why do Ohioans have such limited expectations and imagination about the office? Because for so long they've had Attorneys General who have done so little. Few Ohioans can name any major accomplishments of the Attorney General over the last 12 years. Yet many have heard of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and his accomplishments.

Whether it's in New York or Ohio, though, the attorney general's job is to be the "People's Lawyer" and run the "People's Law Firm" by holding other officeholders, businesses, and individuals accountable. If the governor's job is to lead us to prosperity (and heaven knows we need a new governor to bring us some prosperity), the attorney general is supposed to protect Ohioans from harm and from loss. Recent attorneys general have failed in this mission.

Here are just a few examples of what I would do with the awesome untapped authority of this great public law firm:

* End the culture of corruption and cronyism by fostering an alternative culture. When I was a federal prosecutor and as Cleveland law director we created a strong alternative culture (accept no gifts; always act in the public interest), and promoted that culture across government. People in other departments soon came to our department (and not just to the media) to whistleblow about wrongdoing. We investigated those allegations and pursued them vigorously, including prosecution as appropriate.

* Pursue predatory lenders instead of support them as Attorney General Petro has done. When Cleveland passed its ordinance to restrict extreme predatory loans, the lending lobbyists had the state legislature pass a law that the lenders themselves wrote. The lenders then sued Cleveland and Dayton to stop us from protecting our citizens. But Attorney General Jim Petro, who should not have even have a dog in the fight, intervened in this case on behalf of the predators and against those who are preyed upon. Under my leadership, we beat Petro. He was on the wrong side and I would not be.

* Hold officeholders to the Ohio Constitution and the Supreme Court cases on educational funding. Petro and Montgomery did nothing to try to bring the state into compliance. I would. This would include, if necessary, presenting constitutional funding plans for consideration. And I would turn up the heat increasingly on the legislature and governor, regardless of party, until they comply- going back to court if necessary with the appropriate facts to show willful noncompliance. The A.G.'s oath is to the U.S. and Ohio constitutions first and to enforce state law second.

* Join the other active American attorneys general in national projects like Connecticut A.G. Dick Blumenthal's suit against the federal government against the No Child Left Behind Act as an unfunded mandate, seeking a federal anti-price gouging statute, pursuing major predatory lenders, fighting prescription-drug prices, etc. Even though we are the seventh largest state in the country, Montgomery was one of the last attorneys general in America to join the tobacco litigation. It cost us billions of dollars in potential recoveries and sent the wrong message about Ohioans' views about the marketing of tobacco to children.

* Reform the state's crime lab. Right now, the state's crime lab is taking far too long to process DNA results and other testing. That's not tough on crime. When I was Cleveland law director, I helped achieve justice for the victim of a wrongful conviction by making sure we cleaned up our act in our crime lab and that there were no other victims out there.

* Enforce environmental, consumer-protection, wage, and safety laws.

* Slash spending on outside "special" counsel to actually make them "special." Although the Attorney General will sometimes need to engage outside attorneys who can provide special expertise, I have examined Petro's spending and much of it is suspect. He sends it out and the tab doesn't show up on his budget; it is borne by other agencies and public universities so he gets to proclaim himself (falsely) a fiscal conservative, and - let's face it - reap campaign contributions from those to whom he has farmed out work. Routine public work - documenting basic real-estate transactions, and defending civil-rights, employment, and public-hospital medical-malpractice cases - could be conducted in-house at much lower cost. Petro should never have sent much of this work out in the first place. Some cases he farmed out are the bread and butter of what Assistant A.G.s do (including employment-defense work). There are also potentially huge cost savings in the university patent work (which could be done with lower negotiated fixed fees) and the collections work. When I was law director, I negotiated much better rates on collection cases, so that the firms who collect on debts owed to the city received no more than 23% of what they collected. Petro pays an outrageous 33%--and he has more negotiating leverage than I ever did.

Before I became Cleveland's Law Director, Cleveland had spent $7.4 million in the year 2000 on outside lawyers - more than Los Angeles, a city seven times Cleveland's size. We fixed this problem by making Cleveland's Law Department the public's law firm. We hired talented people and brought the work in-house. For every new dollar we spent in house, we saved Cleveland taxpayers $16.

And we insisted that lawyers hired for their expertise could not delegate work to inexperienced associates at their firm - our attorneys would help, instead. This kept fees down and ensured that we received just the expert advice for which we were paying. Unless we had a conflict of interest, we never "turnkeyed" a matter like Petro did with the BWC. We actively managed even the outsourced cases.

By the time I left Cleveland's Law Department, we had reduced outside-counsel spending by 88% to $850,000 a year.

* Raising hiring, performance, ethical, and professionalism standards. As law director, I never hired someone because of politics. We created a new culture of excellence, humanity, and decency. We attracted graduates of top schools and top graduates of local schools, and partners and associates from top law firms and public-service backgrounds to join the first-rate staff that had toughed out the difficult years. We did careful background checks and did not hire attorneys with ethical or competency issues, bar reprimands, etc. How did we attract stellar hires? Part of it was bringing more of the interesting and challenging work in-house. Part of it, if I may say so immodestly, was having a "lawyer's lawyer" at the top of the organization who could hypnotize other top lawyers into remembering why they had become lawyers to begin with. And once we brought people in, we fostered a strong culture of professionalism in the way people treated each other internally and behaved outside of the department.

Ohio next Attorney General must not be yet another politician with a law degree, whether a Democrat or a Republican. Given the kinds of problems Ohio is facing and will face over the next four years, only an accomplished lawyer, prosecutor, and executive who can lead the law firm to protect Ohioans from further harm and loss.

Because the Attorney General is supposed to be the People's Lawyer, we should compare the candidates' records of accomplishment and ask ourselves, "If my own life, liberty, or property were at stake, whom would I hire to be my lawyer?"

I hope your answer will be, "...Chandra."

Subodh Chandra is a Democratic candidate for Ohio Attorney General and the only Democrat in the race who is a former prosecutor and knows the difference between a grand-jury subpoena and a grand piano. Betty Montgomery will not out "law and order" him.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Impeachment Wagon is Ready to Roll

(Oh you know you want it...)

All aboard!

Vermont's Impeachment document known as the Rutland Resolution has wheels, and we're hitching our wagon to it.

The Rutland Resolution is a resolution passed by the Rutland Vermont County Democrats on February 28 that takes advantage of a little-known US House rule for impeachment charges to be transmitted to the US House from the states. It's building a groundswell of support in Vermont, and starting to leak into other states. Rhode Island already had their own version in the works, and there are rumors of action elsewhere.

We need to keep the momentum going!

mataliandy has just posted a do-it-yourself impeachment guide on Kos and on MyLeftWing , which includes the text of the Rutland Resolution, link to a pdf of the U.S. House Rules, as well as steps to creating your own state's resolution.

Recommends are needed, but we also need swarming. The most helpful thing right now is to get rolling thunder - make it sweep across the landscape before it can be stopped. Once the word is out there, we can keep people excited by reporting on what's happening with it around the country. If we can't get it into the media, we can at least get it into our communities.

That's where you come in. If you can get folks to recommend, please do, but also, if you have a blog or know someone with a blog, please post about it - feel free to use the entire thing wholesale if you're short on time. The important thing is to get it disseminated.

While you're at it, please email the diary to any email lists you belong to. The more people who are aware of the option, the better

For more information email:

Thank you! From mataliandy via listener

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Subodh Chandra

Last night I heard Subodh Chandra, candidate for Ohio Attorney General, speak for the second time. He talked for about an hour, and I will not detail all he said. Some of it was his "sleep-deprived nightmare" about the corruption in Ohio. That story has been previously posted here. I'll try to relate instead some of the things that aren't usually covered about his appearances.

Mr. Chandra endeared himself to me before he even spoke because he was wearing a tie with repeating pictures of his triplet boys at six months of age. Now that's a proud dad! **

Subodh Chandra was born in Oklahoma City, OK of parents who had immigrated from India. He was raised in Norman, OK and attended public school from K through 12. His first political job was working for Gov. Dick Celeste "the last time Ohio was solvent". He said that his name, Subodh, means "good knowledge". He asked us if we thought "good knowledge" in the AG's office was preferable to the "no knowledge" Petro always claims when questioned about corruption. We all laughed and applauded in agreement.

He told a story about his Dad. He said that his Dad, like many recent immigrants, was always frugal, always fearing that the good life they had achieved might be snatched away. He said that his Dad, when he was in a left-turn lane with an arrow, always refused to use the car's turn-signal. His Dad said he didn't want to "waste the light". Subodh learned the habit of frugality from his Dad. When Subodh was Law Director of Cleveland he slashed costs by 88% because he insisted that legal work be done in-house, not outsourced. When asked how he had managed to save so much money Subodh replied, "I had to...or I'd get in trouble with my Dad".

Chandra spoke of the last twelve years, as Petro and Montgomery have traded back and forth the offices of Attorney General and Auditor. He said, "As a Democrat I believe in recycling, but I *don't* believe in recycling Montgomery!"

Subodh said that since the Federal Government has walked away from its responsibility it is especially important that Ohio has a strong Attorney General. He sees the role of AG as protecting Ohio and its people from harm and loss. He mentioned the fact that Petro has slashed the size of the crime lab to the point where it takes a year and a half to get result back. Hardly the mark of a "tough on crime" person.

Subodh Chandra teaches legal ethics. He says he is not interested in the "Office" aspect of AG, but in the job. I believe him. He asked us, "If your life, liberty and property are at stake, do you want a lawyer? Or do you want a politician with a law degree?"

Chandra spoke to us easily, as if we were a group of good friends. There was no feeling of "stump speech" about his talk. He has a lightning quick mind and a wicked sense of humor, which I won't detail here in case any trolls roll by. But he had us roaring with laughter at least half a dozen times.

He ended by saying, "Who better than an Indian-American to go after the Sacred Cows of Ohio?"

We gave him a standing ovation.


** I could only find this small picture of Subodh's tie that has images of his toddlers on it.

But here's a great picture of Subodh with his *actual* toddlers on him.

Would be harder to "wear" them that way to an event, though. ;-) --Renee

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Jennifer Brunner on keeping Ohions' data safe

Blue Buckeye Blog has a video of Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Brunner's remarks the Social Security numbers that can be found on the current Secretary of State's web site.

Here's a transcript of what she says:

Hello, I'm Jennifer Brunner, the Democratic candidate for Ohio Secretary of State. I'm running for this office because I want to restore trust to Ohio's election process and change the way Ken Blackwell has run elections in Ohio. I'm committed to insuring that our elections in Ohio will be free, fair, open and honest. I'm here with you today to firmly state that I'm committed to protecting Ohioans.

Ken Blackwell has published Social Security numbers on his state office web site for routine business filings, threatening the financial security of Ohioans. When confronted with all of this last week, Ken Blackwell tried to escape responsibility for it, first, by blaming it on the federally drafted forms, and then on the filers themselves.

The real problem is that Ken Blackwell doesn't know what his records say, because he's outsourced these jobs to a private company. He can't say how many people's rights were violated or how he's going to fix the problem.

Identity theft is real, and we all want to be safe. When I was a judge at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, I punished people for identity theft, and worked to get restitution for victims of this crime. As your next Secretary of State, I will return the responsibilities of guarding Ohioans' private information to state employees who are responsible to me, not private companies. I'll protect Ohioans' private information, just like I'll protect their right to vote.

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Late night roundup/open thread

Looking forward to having SusanD's post reporting on an event she attended featuring Ohio Attorney General candidate Subodh Chandra. In the comments of the last thread she wrote:

This man is a complete and utter delight. Obviously highly intelligent, wonderful sense of humor. He cracked up the group several times. He teaches ethics, and I believe he actually *lives* them.

He got a standing ovation when he was finished speaking. More later.

In the meantime, here's a post from Buckeye Senate about his platform and here's a post about a candates' forum in Sandusky that took place on Sunday.

Corinne has a new post up at We've Got Howard Dean's Back about "Handwringing Democrats" and I have a new post up at Street Prophets. Check Democracy for Vermont to read about what needs to be done to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Bush. And, related to the post below this one, check out Booman's NSA Rant where we learn, among other things:
Bill Frist is threatening to change the rules of the Senate Intelligence Committee to limit the minority party's power to participate in oversight.

That man *must* be stopped. Do it for the kittens.

The following is from March 1, for anyone who missed it (I didn't see it myself until someone sent it to me today: Bush in India: Just Not Welcome by Arundhati Roy

Finally, the We Believe site is now online.

'Night, everybody.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Action: Vote on NSA Hearings Tomorrow

Please see this post at Booman Tribune for all of the links. Right now I just wanted to get this action item posted as soon as possible. Please pass it on.

Action: Vote on NSA Hearings Tomorrow

So, what can we do to push this along?

Million Phone March is organizing a massive effort to pressure the committee members. And here are their websites:

Pat Roberts, Kansas
John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia
Vice Chairman

Orrin G. Hatch, Utah
Carl Levin, Michigan
Mike Dewine, Ohio
Dianne Feinstein, California
Christopher S. Bond, Missouri
Ron Wyden, Oregon
Trent Lott, Mississippi
Evan Bayh, Indiana
Olympia J. Snowe, Maine
Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland
Chuck Hagel, Nebraska
Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin
Saxby Chambliss, Georgia

Let them know that you expect Congress to protect you from illegal surveillance.

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Third party candidate in Ohio governor's race

Just found out a couple days ago that Bob Fitrakis is running for governor of Ohio. If his name sounds familiar, you may remember reading his articles about the voting irregularities in the 2004 election. Alan in CA pointed out that he is running as the candidate of the Ohio Green Party.

I know that many Democrats tend to get upset about third party candidates (e.g. the mantra "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush", and Ken Blackwell is one scary dude. On the other hand, with Fitrakis in the election, the issue of elections reform could not be brushed aside, and would *have* to be addressed. I mean, how many of us are thinking that, even if the Democratic candidate gets more votes, Secretary of State J. Katherine Blackwell would manage to steal the election.

Anyway, I do recommend checking out his site, especially, as I mentioned earlier, his call for citizens to pressure boards of elections to issue photo IDs to the poor and at nursing homes and college campuses.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Oscars

On my drive home from church this afternoon, and saw one of those church signs with the moveable letters--you know, the kind that allows people to put up a new, clever saying every week? One that will probably stay etched in my memory forever read,

You think it's hot here?

Kinda like this...

Gotta love that Church Sign Generator site.

Well, today it was nothing as mean-spirited as that, but it still stayed with me. It read, "Lent: like spring training for Christians". I had to laugh--there are probably some people who can understand any given issue better if only you use a good sports analogy. I am definitely not one of them. It would be hard to find someone more sports-clueless than I am--perhaps someone who had been raised in a monastery, or out in a remote jungle without cable access. But the point is, whenever there is some *big* game that everyone on *all* the blogs is talking about, I'm the one who doesn't even know what kind of ball is involved in that game, much less which teams are playing.

The Oscars, like any other awards show, would *normally* be something not on my radar, something I couldn't even effectively feign some degree of interest in. But this year is a bit different, because this year the show is hosted by this guy.

Do you think he has "crushies"? I bet he does.

Stephen Colbert recently gave Jon Stewart advice in a piece on the ABC News web site. He's clearly "in character" as his persona from The Colbert Report:

Colbert: Oscars 'Could Be a Big One for Jon'
Advice for Jon: Okay, first off, do not look Russell Crowe in the eye. He sees it as a challenge. Two, get drunk, but not too drunk -- just fun drunk. Bring some hand sanitizer. A lot of people are going to want to shake your hand and you don't know where these stars have been.

Update: I guess it shouldn't surprise me that there are people as clueless about who Jon Stewart is as I just admitted I am about sports. So, a few links:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
From Media Matters: Jon Stewart on Crossfire
Jon Stewart gives the commencement address at his alma mater, William and Mary

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Looks like Dean will stand his ground with Pelosi and Reid.

Update: I've shared some thoughts on this situation here. It's my first attempt at a Podcast, and it's in mp3 format. Once again, my *very* first time doing this. Please be gentle. :-) --Renee

I say good for him. We need to build the party throughout the country. Sounds like he took a stand.

Democratic Leaders Question Whether Dean's Right on the Money

Democratic congressional leaders aren't happy with the way Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is spending money. At a private meeting last month, they let him know.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) challenged the former Vermont governor during a session in Pelosi's office, according to Democratic sources. The leaders complained about Dean's priorities -- funding organizers for state parties in strongly Republican states such as Mississippi -- rather than targeting states with crucial races this fall.

Neither side was willing to give ground, according to several accounts of the meeting. Dean argued that his strategy is designed to rebuild the party across the country, and that he had pledged to do so when he ran for party chairman. Reid and Pelosi countered that if Democrats squander their opportunities this year, longer-term organizing efforts will not matter much.

Dean has won friends among state party leaders for his efforts to underwrite the hiring of organizers in states where Republicans have been winning in presidential races. Dean campaigned for the DNC chairmanship by pledging to make Democrats competitive in all 50 states, not just in the 16 to 18 presidential battlegrounds. One congressional Democrat responded: "Nobody's suggesting they do 16 states, but not all states are equal."

Pelosi was particularly insistent in pressing Dean to keep focused on 2006, but Dean is reluctant to give congressional colleagues anything approaching a blank check, preferring to stay on the course he began a year ago.

I had some figures, can't find them now, that the DNC outraised the DSCC and DCCC in January of this year. Pretty impressive. Dean said he put the money back into the states as he promised.

I hope he stands his ground.

I hope we have his back on this. I think we do.

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